Roger Marsh: Hi this Roger Marsh for Family Talk. Do you remember Dr. Dobson's touching interview with Rebekah Gregory?
Rebekah Gregory: The hardest part of that day was not the physical, though. It was the emotional. It was everything that not only I saw, but my son saw as well.
Roger Marsh: Or what about the powerful interview with Dennis Prager?
Dennis Prager: Nice people can do damage. Nice is not the same as wise. Lack of wisdom creates evil, not lack of niceness.
Roger Marsh: There were so many great Family Talk moments this year. It may be hard to pick your favorite, but don't worry, we've done it for you. We've selected eighteen of the most popular broadcasts of the past year, and present them to you together on six audio CDs, in the 2019, Family Talk Best of Broadcast Collection! These entertaining and informative programs are sure to bless you and become a cherished part of your family resource library. This compelling CD-set is our thank you for a suggested gift of any amount in support of Family Talk. Learn more at drjamesdobson.org, or by calling 877-732-6825. Thank you, and God bless you.
Now, throughout the entire month of December, we are highlighting our most listened to broadcasts from the past year. So, sit back and enjoy this popular program from 2019, on this special edition of Family Talk.
Announcer: Today, on Family Talk:
Dr. Dobson: We're going to talk today to one of the most highly respected Christian women in America, and Shirley and I love her. Her name is Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of the late evangelist, Billy Graham. I also had such love and respect for him. And her mother was, of course, Ruth Graham, and she's also gone on to be with the Lord.
Anne is with me by telephone today because she has her own illness to deal with and she's not able to travel at this time. But I'm delighted to have her here.
Anne, I can't tell you how much we love and appreciate you and especially are grateful for your joining us today.
Anne Graham Lotz: Oh, thank you, Dr. Dobson. I love talking to you any time, any place. I've had my last infusion, so I'm raising my hallelujahs and so thankful that so much of this past year is behind me. Praise God.
Dr. Dobson: Well, it's not just your physical illness, you lost your husband, Danny, in 2015, I believe?
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right, uh-huh.
Dr. Dobson: You would have been married for 50 years in 2016.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yeah, that's right.
Dr. Dobson: And I'm sure that's been a difficult time. You wrote a letter yesterday, or at least we received it yesterday, which is not a personal letter but it has a lot of personal information in it.
The first paragraph reads like this, "Over the past two years, loneliness has knocked on my door. After 49 years of marriage, I had just begun adjusting to the new normal of widowhood when my beloved father moved to heaven. Six months after his funeral, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The resulting surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation meant months at home, sidelined from ministry. Only a sovereign God could have arranged my life's events to coincide with the writing of a new book on the subject, Jesus in Me. In this difficult season, I have truly experienced the very fresh personal way of constant companionship."
And your book is about that, and that's what we want to talk about. But, Anne, I've had ten female members of my family who have lost their husbands and have been through widowhood. And I've watched that up close and personal. That is a difficult journey, isn't it?
Anne Graham Lotz: You know, it is, Dr. Dobson, and yet, I look back on the last four years, so living as a widow and then without my father, so I'm a widow, I'm an orphan. And then to go through the breast cancer, you know, that whole journey. And, you know, the Lord has just taken me up.
I look back and what stands out is not the pain and the grief and the suffering, but the blessings of God. And he has just balanced the pain. I don't know how to describe it except that it's one of the wonderful ministries of the Holy Spirit, that he comforts us and he helps us and he guides us, and he stands right by us to help us when we, you know, in an emergency or just a sudden need. And I have experienced that. I have never lost my peace. He's given me blessing after blessing. I've had joy.
So, it's been difficult, but His strength has been sufficient for every single moment of every single day. And I'm not saying there haven't been hard times, because you know I'd be less than honest if I didn't say there are hard times. But God is there for that.
And so, I just praise Him for seeing me through. And I will never get over missing my husband, never get over missing my father. But I have so many wonderful memories, you know, just ... so I thank God for the memories. I thank God for those two men who were godly men and were, you know, I adored both of them. A different relationship with each one, but they were wonderful. And then to be without them, the Holy Spirit has just taken up that slack.
Anne Graham Lotz: So, I'm very grateful to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life.
Dr. Dobson: People didn't know Danny like they knew your father, but he was a good godly man, wasn't he?
Anne Graham Lotz: He was great, he was strong. He was a man's man. He was a leader.
Dr. Dobson: Absolutely.
Anne Graham Lotz: And so, he left a big vacuum when he left.
Dr. Dobson: Anne, where did you get the strength and the presence of mind to write a book in the midst of all of this that was going on in your life?
Anne Graham Lotz: I feel like it has to come from the Holy Spirit. And it was after my husband went to heaven and I just ... because that loneliness did knock at my door and I had God surrounded me with family and friends and prayers of people. But there's still times when nobody's there and you are aware of that kind of loneliness.
And so, I just began to do a word study on widows and then I felt like the Lord just put on my heart to study more about the Holy Spirit. And it became sort of a burden that I began to study about it. And then I wrote it down. And then I felt like it should the next book. And so, you know, I wrote it down and I had finished the main manuscript before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. But then when I was diagnosed, I had to re-write, as you know when you do a book, there's a lot of re-writing, editing. And it just became alive to me.
So, I had the basic foundation of the manuscript, but it was after that breast cancer diagnosis that it just came alive. And one of the wonderful things, Dr. Dobson, is at the moment you might not recognize the Holy Spirit, but looking back, I could see, "Oh, you know, that was the Holy Spirit. He brought this person to me and that person wrote that letter or that email or that text." And you just begin to see that He has surrounded me with himself and He works through people.
I came out of that with just a renewed commitment to be the kind of person that He can work through in the lives of other people.
Dr. Dobson: You say in this book that you didn't learn much about the Holy Spirit when you were growing up in a strong Christian household. How could that be?
Anne Graham Lotz: You know, I don't know. I was raised in a Presbyterian Church. My parents and grandparents, they loved the Lord, they loved Jesus, they obeyed Jesus, they proclaimed Jesus. They studied their Bible, they taught me to love my Bible and to pray and get answers to prayer. But for some reason, I cannot remember ever being taught about the Holy Spirit.
And in the Presbyterian Church that I was raised in, at the benediction they say, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," actually, he was the Holy Ghost when I was growing up. And when somebody gets married, you know, they pronounce them man and wife in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or when you're baptized.
And Ghost is a little bit off putting for a little girl, you know, so I just didn't ... never really thought about the Holy Spirit. He was like a P.S., you know, like you have the wonderful Father and Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is like a tack on, an add on that I didn't exactly know.
Dr. Dobson: You know, I didn't either. I grew up in the pastor's home and I learned to pray before I learned to talk because I was imitating the sounds of prayer that my parents made. And yet, I didn't know a lot about the Holy Spirit. When I pray, I pray to Jesus and with reference to God. But I don't often say, "Dear Holy Spirit, I'm approaching you today on my knees."
I don't think many people in the church, even those deeply committed to scripture and to what it tells us about salvation, I don't think many of us really understand who the personhood of the Holy Spirit is. He's really equal to the other two, isn't He?
Anne Graham Lotz: That's right. He is God. And Jesus said, "It's better if I go away, because if I go away I'm going to send you the Holy Spirit who will come to live in you." And that's a paraphrase, but I thought, what could be better than Jesus being visibly present with me? But he was saying it's better for Him not to be visibly present and have the Holy Spirit invisibly present, because the Holy Spirit would not just be with us, He would come to live in us.
And so, the Holy Spirit is actually Jesus in me. And when I was a little girl, Dr. Dobson, I can't remember the year, but I was eight or nine years of age and I'd seen a picture about Jesus on TV and felt very convicted of my sin. And I got on my knees beside my bed and I told God I was sorry and I asked him to forgive me and to come into my heart. And I believe Jesus answered that prayer and came into my heart.
But Jesus actually, technically, didn't come into my heart because he lives in a man's body up in heaven. He's getting ready to come back and rule the world soon, but he came into me in the person of the Holy Spirit. So even though we don't know his name and even though we may not be familiar with the Holy Spirit, if we've invited Jesus to come into our hearts, he comes in in the person of the Holy Spirit and the Bible says he will never leave us and he'll never forsake us.
Dr. Dobson: Tell me why you titled your book, Jesus in Me, and not Holy Spirit In Me.
Anne Graham Lotz: Because I feel like Jesus is more familiar. You know, the Holy Spirit ... the Holy Spirit is Jesus in me, and the subtitle is really my aim for the book, which is, "To experience the Holy Spirit as a constant companion." And so, having Jesus on the inside, you know, if Jesus was with me and I walk out of this room and I go into the yard, then he's no longer with me, I leave Him in the room, you know, so I would be without Him.
But when Jesus is in me in the person of the Holy Spirit, wherever I go He goes. He lives inside of me, I'm never separated from Him. And so, Jesus in me, all that Jesus is, just as Jesus was the exact representation of the Father, the Holy Spirit is the exact representation of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit is equal, as you pointed out, He is God. He's a distinct person in himself, but He's all that Jesus is, in His mind, His will, His emotions. And he's available in spirit form, he's the Holy Spirit to come inside of us. It's a miracle.
And the Bible says when He does, we become a new creation. Because on the inside of us, I now have two people. I have Anne Graham, you know, I was born as Anne Graham, and then I have the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus living inside of me. A new creation. And the secret of the Christian life, actually, is learning how to live out your life in that new creation.
Dr. Dobson: You made reference in your letter that I just read to the loneliness that you've experienced through these losses. Did the Holy Spirit comfort you during that time? Did you feel him? Were you aware of his presence?
Anne Graham Lotz: I was aware of his presence, Dr. Dobson, every day. Every moment of every day. I cannot tell you, from the moment I found my husband, because I found him unresponsive in our pool and I had to call EMS and there were ... because of my phone call to 911, I had helicopters circling overhead, I had people lining up in the street to peer into the yard. It was just, it was ... And yet, my son-in-law quickly came, put his arms around me, my children met me at the hospital. The doctor was there to give me a hug and took my husband to ICU. People were so caring.
And then from when we disconnected him and he went on to heaven, we were reading scripture to him and singing to him and praying while he moved to heaven. And then the Lord just helped me through all of those, as you would know, funeral arrangements and things that you have to go through that are so daunting and overwhelming.
And it was almost smooth and it was a celebration of my husband's life and the legacy that he left behind. And it was a joy and God gave me strength for all of it. And my daughter, my youngest daughter stayed with during that time. And then the day my husband went to heaven, my older daughter and her husband, they had sold their house, they were living in a hotel because their rental place had fallen through and they asked if they could come live with me. So, they lived with me for 16 months. So, the first 16 months of being a widow, I was never alone in my house. You know, I never came home at night and found nobody there.
And I won't go into the circumstances of my daughter's situation, but it was a miracle. We all stand amazed at the timing of God and the way He knows in advance what's going to happen. And he prepares you for it. You know, He arranges circumstances knowing what will carry you through.
And there were some nights, Dr. Dobson, that my son-in-law and my daughter would notice that I was down, and they would get up and put their hands on me, and my son-in-law would trace the name of God in Hebrew on my forehead. And they would pray that Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6 over me and just to lift my spirits.
So, I never sank deep down into depression. You know, I felt ministered to, I felt loved. Every devotional we had, we focused on the blessings of God. And it was a very precious time. I look back on that and it was so precious. We never had a cross word, never tension. And then after 16 months, they felt they needed to move out and it was time.
So, God blessed me through people. My son and my other daughter also were very present. In fact, in my cancer journey, my two daughters were with me every single trip to chemotherapy, except for one when my younger daughter couldn't go, and my older daughter went with me every day to radiation, which was daily for a month. And did it with joy, you know, just ... So, my daughter today actually said it was fun.
Dr. Dobson: Uh-huh.
Anne Graham Lotz: So, just meeting people and having those little divine appointments and being able to comfort other people with the comfort that God has comforted us with has been a blessing.
Dr. Dobson: You know, Anne, I can just envision the people listening to us who are widows. There must be thousands and tens of thousands of them. And they are identifying with what you are saying today and will draw comfort from this book. But it's amazing to me how many places in the scripture talk about how God loves and cares for the widow and the fatherless child. It's in the scripture many times, isn't it?
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: He's very tender to the women who have lost their husbands.
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes. And so, after my husband went to heaven, one of the things I did was do a word study on widows and all the promises that God gives to widows. It really is precious. The Lord has special promises for widows and for orphans, or the fatherless. So, I've claimed every single one and I just encourage any widow that's listening, or widower, to do the same thing. You know, just to study and see what God's word has to say. And then claim those promises for yourself.
Dr. Dobson: I know they would be encouraged by that.
The Holy Spirit is referred to in the scripture as the heavenly Paraclete. That means, as I understand it, one who comes alongside of. Is that your understanding of that word?
Anne Graham Lotz: Yes. You know, He's a helper. In fact, it's wonderful in the Amplified Version, it takes the word comforter, or counselor that is in some versions, and it gives it seven alternate translations. So, He's comforter, He's counselor, He's the advocate, He's the intercessor, he's the stand-by. You know, and there's so many different aspects of his name that flesh out his character. Because names in scripture reveal character.
So, Jesus was named Jesus because it means He will save us from our sins. He's the deliverer. And we think of Peter, you know, who was Simon, which meant wishy washy and compulsive. But he was changed to Peter because he would be so strong in his faith he would be a rock and strengthen others.
Anne Graham Lotz: So, the names of the Holy Spirit reveal something about His character, who He is. And He's wonderful. So, Paraclete would be one, and the helper. And he has helped me so many, many times that it's almost hard to single out one time. It just stands out in my mind when my husband left and it was such an emergency. In fact, that could be also when I could say He was the stand-by because crises don't catch Him by surprise. So, He knew that was going to happen.
And so just at that moment you can lean hard on Him. You just rest in Him. And at that moment He gives wisdom and strength and peace. And it doesn't mean there are not tears, it doesn't mean there's not grief. And I don't mean to make light of that. But somehow His help and His strength and the peace that He gives over, for me anyway, balanced the grief and the pain.
Dr. Dobson: Anne, I wonder if there were times when you found yourself on your knees saying, "Lord, this almost too heavy to bear. Will you help me carry it? That this pain, this loss, this sense of emptiness when a loved one goes on to heaven is a tough road to walk. Would you walk with me? Put your arms around me and comfort me?" Did you pray that kind of prayer?
Anne Graham Lotz: You know, I did. And I don't remember specifically a time during the widowhood, but during this cancer journey, I can tell you after my fifth chemotherapy, I had such strong reaction to it and such terrible side effects that I prayed that prayer. You know, and the doctor had not ever ... and she's head of the Breast Care Center at the University of North Carolina, and she had never seen this reaction to that kind of chemo. It was very bizarre and it was drastic. And so, I wanted out, you know? I told God I just couldn't do this anymore. And I wasn't even sure I wanted to live that bad to go through that.
And the Lord just clearly revealed to me, I believe in my spirit, that He had healed me. And so, I told Him, I believed it, but I said, "I want you to speak to me through your word." Because you know you can have feelings and impressions and they can be dead wrong. But when He speaks to me through His word, then I have something to hang on to.
So, I went to sleep and the next morning I was asking Him to speak to me through His word. And my daughter, my youngest daughter, Rachel Ruth, came and she was sharing with me what she was going to teach in her Bible study that morning. And it was 2 Kings 5, when Naaman, the Syrian general, came to Elisha and he had leprosy. And Elisha told him if he would go dip in the Jordan River seven times he would be healed. And Naaman didn't want to do that because the Jordan River was dirty and muddy and he said they had better rivers in Syria.
But he did and when he dipped the seventh time, he came up and his skin was like that of a baby. He was healed of his leprosy. And it just was like the lights went on in my mind because I had two more sessions of chemotherapy to go and I felt like God was speaking to me through His word, saying, "Anne, I know you don't want to go through the chemotherapy, but you go through this seven times and you're going to come up clean."
And so, I finished out the chemotherapy and I finished out the radiation, because I felt God also told me to do what the doctors told me to do. So, I wanted to be obedient to them. And so now all that chemo is behind me and I'm just, you know, I praise God, I believe I'm healed. But that was a prayer of desperation. And I remember, that will stand in my mind, you know, because it was one of those bottom of the pit experiences.
But the Lord pulled me up and he pulled me up just not only speaking to my spirit, but speaking to me through his word. And so, I just go in confidence that I'm going to be okay. And to be honest, Dr. Dobson, for people who are listening and they don't have a physical healing, there's a greater healing than the physical, and it's the resurrection. So, if he wants to take me to glory, I'm so fine.
My brother-in-law, you knew my other brother-in-law, John. But I had a brother-in-law, Denton, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the same time I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And he went to glory. He's already in heaven. But he told me, he said, "Anne, you and I are in a win-win situation, because if we die we're going to go to heaven. And if we live, we have more time to serve the Lord. So, you can't lose out either way." So, I've sort of handled life loosely, to be honest. If I had children or babies, you know, little children or babies, I wouldn't feel that way. But I don't. I'm old enough now, if the Lord wants to take me home, I'm ready. If He wants to leave me here, then I want to serve Him the best as I can the time that I have left.
Dr. Dobson: You are a wonderful blessing to us. Are you regaining your strength? Is your vitality returning?
Anne Graham Lotz: It's slow. But I'm working on it. So, I walk two miles every day, a mile in the morning, a mile at night. I'm trying to eat, you know, the way I should. And so that's been the most discouraging thing, I think, is that I can't bounce back. But everybody, all the medical personnel tell me it just takes time. So, I don't want to become impatient with myself, but it's hard not to be.
Dr. Dobson: Anne, this 30 minute discussion has gone by so quickly. You've been a blessing to me and I know to others. But I haven't finished the questions that I wanted to ask you. If you can stay on the phone, we'll say good-bye to our listening audience and we'll pick them up tomorrow. Is that okay with you?
Anne Graham Lotz: I would love to. I've got a few more minutes and I would love to talk to you.
Dr. Dobson: All right. Blessings to you.
Roger Marsh: This is Roger Marsh and you have tuned to Family Talk.
You have been listening to the first part of Dr. James Dobson's recent conversation with Anne Graham Lotz. Visit today's broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org for more information about Anne's ministry or her newest book, Jesus in Me. That's drjamesdobson.org, and then click on to the broadcast tab.
Another way you can stay connected with our ministry is by following Family Talk on social media. Find our pages when you search for Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. Our various profiles on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and more, will focus on blessing you and your family through engaging and inspiring content. You can easily listen to past broadcasts, read engaging articles, or just enjoy the scriptures we post.
So, stop subjecting yourself to the filth that you typically find online, fill your day with God honoring material instead from Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. Go now and follow us on social media. Simply search for Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. You'll be glad you did.
Roger Marsh: And be sure to join us again tomorrow to hear the conclusion of Dr. Dobson's recent interview with Anne Graham Lotz. She'll address the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the Bible and how he acts as our advocate when injustice overwhelms us.
You'll hear that and more coming up next time on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.
Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
Dr. Dobson: This is James Dobson again. Before we go, I'd like to remind you that Family Talk is a listener supported program. If you've enjoyed this broadcast, we'd appreciate your helping to keep us on the air. As you know, we talk about everything from religious liberty to the sanctity of human life, and raising boys and girls, among others. These are the passions of our hearts, and I hope they are for you, too. Thank you so much for listening and for being part of this ministry. For more information, go to drjamesdobson.org.